Tag Archives: Community

Harmontown: You Will Believe A Man Can Self Destruct!

I have a long and personal history with Dan Harmon’s work, and in a lot of ways, this documentary is a culmination of my fandom for him growing to its absolute peak. That is to say, the work of Dan Harmon is something I’ve always loved, even before I knew his name. You’re most likely familiar with his most famous work, Community. A lot has been written about that show, and with it, Dan Harmon. The two are kind of inseparable, which is what creates such an interesting pretense for a documentary: What happens to an artist when his creation is taken from him?

While this is a documentary that certainly does tell that story, the main focus is on Mr. Harmon. It’s his self-destruction, heartache for the loss of his own show, and the eclectic people who have all been touched in one way or another by Dan Harmon’s work that creates the backbone of the movie. We follow the tour he takes in response to being fired from his own show, and what we see is a condensed version of scenes from his popular and eponymous podcast Harmontown. So this documentary is really for two sets of fans; Fans who love Community and want to know more about its creator, and fans of his podcast. I’m personally in the latter, and I was giddy to watch this film. In a nutshell, it’s exactly what I expected. The podcast in a movie form, with a semi-narrative that accurately captures the spirit of the tour, and of Dan Harmon himself. He’s a tortured mad genius poet, who cannot accept his own success, and seems to self-sabotage. But it’s great! It’s cathartic to watch a man slowly – over the course of his tour – take some time to think about who he really is, who his fans are, and what that connection truly means to him, and to his fans in turn.

If you’re a Harmonite like me, you don’t need convincing to watch this movie, not really. If you’re in the camp of fans who only know him as the creator of Community, I’m honestly jealous of you. Along with the wonderful podcast (which is basically the long form version of lots of this film), this movie is a deep exploration of how insidious self loathing is. It shows us the real trials of being a very demanding artist who is willing to burn everything around him to create from his soul. It’s a passion and a drive that is respectable and admirable, even if ultimately unhealthy.

Harmontown

And unhealthy it is. Don’t get me wrong, this documentary is not favorable to Dan Harmon. It’s quite unflinching in its portrayal of his relationship with his girlfriend, who sits back and casually receives verbal abuse from Harmon that would cut others to ribbons. If there’s one thing to look for in the film, it’s how even though Harmon is a broken, sad, tortured man, he’s still managed to find someone who loves him for who he is. It’s a beautiful message and one of the more subtle ones told in the film. We mainly see the film through the perspective of a young Dungeons And Dragons player (“A Dungeon MASTER”, as he exclaims in the film) named Spencer Crittenden. He’s our “everyman” in the documentary, and as much as I love Spencer in the film, the focus is clearly on Harmon.

Harmontown is a documentary that shows us how over long periods of time, with enough mental work, enough patience and enough time, we can rise out of the ditches of self-loathing we all dig for ourselves. I can’t think of anything more heart wrenching than having your creation ripped away from you and given to others to continue working on, and the effect it has on Harmon is gripping. He’s a polarizing man for sure, but I guess in a lot of ways so am I, and so are a lot of Harmontown fans. I think that’s something that I, Harmonites, and Dan Harmon himself have all discovered together, and that’s pretty damn magical.


Images: Harmontown, The Orchard

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Sad News: Donald Glover Returning For Only Part of Community’s Season Five

Sometimes even when everything goes right, it still turns out wrong. Even though we were cautiously excited over NBC’s decision to renew Community for a fifth season, and were downright elated about the return of Dan Harmon, it appears as if it won’t be the same. Donald Glover, one half of the amazing show Troy and Abed in the Morning, will only be appearing in five episodes in the upcoming fifth season.

He says it is so he can focus on his music career as Childish Gambrino, which I understand and respect, but would one more year really make or break his chance at hip-hop success?

Community Troy and Abed

It seems more so that Glover might have made plans as if Community‘a cancellation was a sure thing and now he’s just decided to go through with them. As a fan of the show, a show that relies so heavily on its ensemble nature, this is disheartening. What makes Community work is the relationships between each of these characters that should not have much in common yet they end up being a type of family.

Now another one of the family members is leaving (along with Chevy Chase) and it just doesn’t sit right. Hopefully the writers are in a place in their preparation of the season that they can make Troy’s absence and departure happen organically. Otherwise not even the return of Dan Harmon will likely save the show and it will be canceled for good come next May.

Such a shame, we were so close to #sixseasonsandamovie

Dan Harmon returning to ‘Community’

When the “Save Community” call went out (again), there were many that thought the show should be canceled because this past season wasn’t close to the Community that we knew and loved. It was the same cast and same setting but the stories didn’t have the same feeling to them. There were others, myself included, that wanted the show to be picked up for at least a year so that the writers could come together and find a way to go out on a high note. Never in a million years did I think the real solution to bringing Community back to its old form would actually come to fruition.

Dan Harmon

That’s right folks, Dan Harmon is back. After being unceremoniously fired by Sony, it appears as if relationships have been mended enough for them to try and work together again – no doubt spurred on by flagging ratings and a very vocal backlash from the fanbase. However, the question still remains; will Dan Harmon find a way to meet everyone else halfway? He’s notorious for being a very difficult person to work for which apparently played a part in his initial firing. There’s no doubt that the show on screen is better when he’s involved, it’s just up for debate if the climate behind the camera is better.

At the end of the day, I don’t work for Dan Harmon and I enjoy seeing his ideas executed on screen so Yay! Dan Harmon is back!

Sony Pleads for ‘Community’ Viewers: Watch it Live People…

Here we go again! After ABC sent out the call for people to “save” Happy Endings, Sony Pictures is following suit by releasing a video of their own asking the same thing.

Except it’s not the same. ABC was saying “save Happy Endings from us” whereas this time it’s the production studio begging the audience to save the show from NBC. Even though it seems quite a bit more genuine coming from Sony, the problem remains the same – unless people with Nielson boxes see this plea and tune in on Thursday nights, it will sadly make no difference.

Community

When will this ratings insanity end?!? I know there are more pressing issues in the world, but is it too much to ask that network executives rethink how they calculate ratings? The audience of shows like Happy Endings and Community aren’t watching the show when it airs, rather they are watching it off a DVR or online outlets like Hulu so even if the average joe watching live effected ratings, they just aren’t doing it.

Community
Credit to: geek-ramblings

Of course the internet has jumped on this, much to the delight of people like myself. Not only is there an online petition started, which you should go and sign right here… go, I’ll wait… but also plenty of people out there creating great art like this.

Community
Blogger JenKeiko has been sounding the alarm since 2011

You’d think this was streets ahead, but sadly this is leftover from the last time Community sat on the chopping block, or perhaps even the time before that, or maybe the time before that, or it could be from – you get the point. Community has had a rocky road, that is for sure, but the fans of the show are determined to make their voice heard, join us will you?

As with everything in today’s world, there are naysayers. People who kick their feet and scream about how great the show used to be and honestly, I don’t disagree. The writing was better in seasons past and this season has been a little weak, but I’d rather NBC give it another year to let it find it’s footing and go out on a good note. That’s not too much to ask is it? After all, the only thing we’ve always wanted is six seasons and a movie.

community

PaleyFest: A TV Geek’s Dream

I imagine if I were to create a “bucket list” it would include items such as finding a way to convince Julie Andrews to adopt me (sorry Mom) and Gladys Knight to follow me around narrating my life in song. Also on that list would be to attend PaleyFest.

Named for William Paley, the man who took a small Columbia Broadcasting System and turned it into the CBS we know today (one would hope minus the dearth of crappy sitcoms), setting the standard for all modern television networks along the way, PaleyFest bills itself as “The Ultimate TV Fan Festival”. With two weeks filled with panels and autographs and things of that nature, it just might be. Luckily for those of us TV fans who do not live in Los Angeles, the folks over at the Paley Center for Media have teamed up with Hulu to bring the panels to the masses. The day after a panel, it’s been put up on Hulu in both clips and an entire session.

PaleyFest

There have been some good shows like The Newsroom, Revolution and Once Upon a Time and even some shows we here at Grizzly Bomb watch and review such as The Walking Dead and ArrowPanels like this are always fun because you get a chance to see the actors behind the characters and often get some behind the scenes/story info much like this clip for the Arrow panel.

Lest we ever doubt that writers and producers are listening to the fans’ reactions, we played a part in bringing Felicity Smoak up as a series regular! If you were looking for an example of social media having a direct impact on something, that would be it. Had Arrow aired even fifteen years ago, there’s a good chance Felicity would still have been this small character until enough people sent in letters and some email to the studio asking for more of “that blond IT girl”.

Another clip that I found to be interesting is to see Stephen Amell talk about how he approaches “island Oliver”.

These two clips are non-spoilers but there are a few in the rest of the panel session, which you can watch right here, so be warned. If you did not recognize the moderator for the panel, that would be none other than Geoff Johns himself, rocking the Aquaman hat.

The other show of note was The Walking Dead.

PaleyFest Walking Dead

Now, I do not watch The Walking Dead (there is no need to tell me how awesome it is and how I’m missing out – I’m a big ol’ wuss and damn near pissed myself watching one episode and I’d rather not repeat that experience) so there is a chance these clips might have spoilers and if they do, I apologize.

However, I did watch the majority of this panel and if I’m honest, it’s because I’ve got a wee bit of a crush on Chris Hardwick. The man is just adorable, I can’t help it.

**Possible Spoilers**

I thought this was really interesting because in a show about the ‘zombie apocalypse’ and when pretty much everyone is on the chopping block at any moment (of course one would assume major characters would be safe, but stranger things have happened), I imagine the thought that they could be killed off is in the forefront of their minds.

Of course once this topic came up, there was no way I couldn’t include it. Living south of Atlanta, I can commiserate fully. Summer down here is awful. You step outside and you immediately start sweating and I can only imagine what kind of hell the makeup people deal with. It’s a good thing the characters are usually sweaty and gross because man alive, if they had to look fresh and clean? Those makeup people would be winning an Emmy each year and rightfully so.

Again, here is the whole panel, there may be spoilers so be warned.

So now that we all know what PaleyFest can include, who wants to go with me? I’m taking names for next year’s carpool, we can split the gas and all share a bag of beef jerky.